Memory and Identity of Sephardic Jews

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Course Information
Religious Studies
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Language of instruction: 
Contact Hours: 



This course is a historical, literary and anthropologic approach to the Jews of Iberian/Spanish descendent. The course is organised from two different points of view:

  1. The construction of the Jew Sephari identity. How has it developed over centuries. Countries the Spanish Jews have passed by.
  2. The memory of Sepharad and of his sons who were killed in the European Holocaust.

Watch this short video to get an overview for this course!

Attendance policy: 

Attendance is mandatory for all IES Abroad classes, including course related excursions. Any exams, tests, presentations, or other work missed due to student absences can only be rescheduled in cases of documented medical or family emergencies. If a student misses more than three classes in any course 3% of the final class grade will be deducted for every unjustified student absence. Six absences in any course will result in a failing grade.

Method of presentation: 
  • Lectures by the instructor renforced by multimedia tools.
  • Students must make a poster of different Sephardi leading figures in different countries and times (before the expulsion, in the first diaspora and nowadays).
  • Students will be asked to do a research project.
Required work and form of assessment: 

Attendance is mandatory.

  • Short individual or group research - 20%
  • Poster presentation - 20%
  • Mid-term exam - 20%
  • Final exam - 25%
  • Active class participation and attendance - 15%



Unit 1 Definition of basic concepts: history, literature and language of Sefardi Jews from Spain.
Unit 2 Jews in Spain before 1492.
Unit 3 The Sephardi diaspora (15th to 19th centuries)
Unit 4 The second diaspora (20th century)
Unit 5 Sephardis and the Shoá.
Required readings: 
  • Díaz Mas, Paloma (1997): Los sefardíes. Historia, Lengua y Cultura. Barcelona: Riopiedras.
  • Díaz Mas, Palona y Sánchez Pérez, María (2010): Los sefardíes ante los retos del mundo contemporáneo: identidad y mentalidades. Madrid: CSIC.
  • Benbassa, Esther y Rodrigue, Aron (2004): Historia de los judíos sefardíes. De Toledo a Salónica. Madrid: Abada Editores.
  • Kedourie, Elie (ed.) (1992): Los judíos de España: la diáspora sefardí desde 1492. Barcelona: Crítica.
  • Nieto Solís, Miguel Ángel (2003): El último sefardí. Madrid: Ediciones Calamar.